(Photo source: Redd Angelo via Unsplash.com)

(Photo source: Redd Angelo via Unsplash.com)

For those who have stayed:

Thank you. 

I will be the first to admit that I am not easy to spend time with.

And after seven years of keeping it a secret, I will also be the first one to admit that my anxiety disorder is even more difficult to spend time with.

Living with an anxiety disorder is like experiencing that moment of panic when you miss a step walking down the stairs. Continuously. Every day. 

It’s exhausting and frustrating for me, and I imagine it is equally as frustrating for you.

I become irritable at the drop of a hat. I do everything in my power to keep it to myself, but it’s exhausting being hyperaware in every social situation; it’s exhausting ruminating over everything I’ve said or done or will say or will do. I may snap at you. Please know that it isn’t your fault.

I’m controlling. It sucks having incredibly limited control of my mind and the physical manifestations of my anxiety. To compensate, I crave whatever control I can get. Staying on schedule and having a routine is important because it provides me with something that I can count on. I can handle change; it just takes me a bit longer to adjust. Please be OK with this. 

Please know this is because I trust you to help me tackle a task that seems too daunting to do on my own. 

I may present as clingy or dependent to some of you, requesting your constant presence while going to the grocery store or the post office. Please know this is because I trust you to help me tackle a task that seems too daunting to do on my own. 

I make excessive comments about my insecurities – anyone who knows me knows how often I comment about my hair – in a nonchalant way. This is yet another coping mechanism. I express what I believe other people to be thinking about me in an effort to eliminate the (nonexistent) elephant in the room. Please understand that I am not doing it to seek attention.

I decline invitations. It’s not because I don’t want to spend time with you; I just fear the unknowns of the situation. Please know that 95 percent of the time, I really would like to say yes!

I apologize too often, convinced that even the simplest inconveniences are my fault. Please don’t get annoyed.

I’m indecisive to the extreme. The fear of making the wrong decision means that the odds of ever getting a straightforward answer from me are likely zero. Please, if making me choose, at least limit it to two choices.

Please be patient with me.

I’m severely crippled in the communication department. Despite carefully planning and rehearsing in my head exactly what I want to say, my thoughts generally flutter all over the place. I stutter and say a garble of words that make no sense. I’m often unintentionally absent in conversation because I’m simultaneously working hard to be aware of every detail happening around me. Please be patient with me.

I believe that everyone who puts up with me secretly hates me or finds me annoying. Please don’t take offense. 

My “I don’t want to” often is disguising an “I want to, but the situation makes me incredibly uncomfortable, so I don’t think I can.” Please feel free to try and gently push me out of my comfort zone.

I rarely answer phone calls … and I definitely don’t return phone calls. Please accept my “you called?” texts.

I have the tendency to push people away. I often passive aggressively vocalize and push my frustrations with limitations onto those around me who are living a ‘normal’ life. It’s merely an expression of jealousy of the freedom you have. It has nothing to do with you. It is a poor coping mechanism that I unfortunately use to conceal what I consider to be a personal weakness. Please don’t take it personally. 

You actually do care about me. Why else would you have stuck around?

But you…

You hang out with me anyway.

You don’t snap back at me.

You let me sit in “my” spot in the car.

You join me for trips to the grocery store, even when you don’t need anything. 

You jokingly roll your eyes as I comment for the 432nd time about how “long” my hair is getting.

You continue to invite me to everything.

You assure me that it wasn’t a big deal.

You still listen to what I have to say. 

You eventually tell me to pick a number between 0 and 10. That I can do!

You actually do care about me. Why else would you have stuck around?

You are aiding in my growth and giving me a leg up on my anxiety disorder. By making “you can do it” comments and accompanying me to places, you provide me with the support I need.

You respond back with a multi-text message that could have been explained in a 3-minute phone call.

You have stayed. 

Thank you for being a friend, 


This post originally appeared on To Write Love on Her Arms and was republished with permission.